Red River Valley sheet music, with a new arrangement with a simplified left hand: your students will love this Western-style song. FOUR levels of difficulty, from beginner piano to using parallel sixths in the right hand.
I really like this sweet version by Gordon Payne... it makes me think of old Westerns:
Here's the newest arrangement, only in the key of F. Instead of the "loping" sound of a swinging bass left hand, it uses solid chords that swing:
Please scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.
I am calling this an easy arrangement, but this is NOT inherently an easy melody, due to the necessity to move the hand a couple times. But if a student likes the song, they will work at it!
The easiest arrangement, for Middle C readers:
The chord symbols are for a potential duet partner.
Notice that I have given the Middle C note to the left hand sometimes, but usually to the right hand.
My bet is that your students will play the note with their right hand no matter what!
However, with beginner piano music, I like the continuity of playing Middle C with whichever hand was just involved in the previous notes, if there are enough fingers to share Middle C.
Now below is melody and accompaniment, with a Western-sounding left hand pattern:
I always associate that left hand pattern with a horse walking along.
These arrangements are based on one I remember playing from a John Schaum book as a child; "The Cowboy Book".
I loved that book! And this cowboy song was my favorite to play. ("Streets of Laredo," with the sad tale of the young cowboy who knew he must die, was a close second.)
Be aware that there are many different versions of the lyrics.
I was hoping not to use any copyrighted versions, so there are only two verses in my arrangements. Additional lyrics to this song are very easy to find.
In order to begin this piano song with confidence, it will help if your student understands chords, so that they will recognize the left hand patterns.
Except for the G7 chord in measure 12, every left hand chord has the same shape and fingering.
Below is the version of the melody that I loved as a child. Who can say which one is the "right" one? I have noticed that some performers even mix the two melodies, incorporating them both into their arrangements.
Okay, now here are the BEAUTIFUL versions, but requiring much more skill (or dogged determination!)
These arrangements use parallel 6ths and a few 3rds, and they are so satisfying for young piano players. Just not easy!
Now, my very favorite version (but the hardest, I think). It is MOSTLY identical to the previous version, above.
The links to the piano arrangements:
The Sons of the Pioneers, with an old-fashioned sound, sing a melody that starts out like the alternate melody:
Helps me a lot as a music teacher too. I'm a violin and piano teacher, and I think this is an incredible site!
THIS SITE IS AMAZING!!
I've been teaching guitar for about 5 years now, and I've only just found your website! (I could really have used it 5 years ago) :-) I teach at primary schools every week day for about 4 hours, so the beginner tabs you have are ideal. Thank you so much for your hard work getting these on the web, you have made many children very happy!!
Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!
Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...